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Shavuot Budget #1: One Hour

Image Credit:

Image Credit:

Are you exhausted after a long day at work? Just want to relax a bit after putting the kids to bed? We understand. Learning into the wee hours isn't feasible for everybody, but we think that these short one-hour Shavuot "budgets" can still give you a chance to take a deep dive into thought-provoking Jewish material. Choose from the following options, all located on this page:

Track 1 - Shavuot Unbound: A 4-Part Mini-Series

60 Minutes: Listen to our four-part mini-series on Shavuot!


Track 2 - 21st Century Judaism: The Big Picture

45 Minutes: Press the play button above to listen to the pilot episode of the Judaism Unbound podcast, and click here if you would like a short summary of it and some related links. In this podcast series, co-hosts Dan Libenson and Lex Rofes consider questions of importance to American Jews. In this episode, they discuss the disconnect between the institutionalized Jewish community and many ordinary American Jews, the role of the phrase "Jewish continuity" in 21st Century life, and more!

15 Minutes: After listening to that episode, watch the video on the right, an ELI Talk (styled on TED Talk, but on Jewish themes) by Rabbi Benay Lappe, entitled An Unrecognizable Jewish Future: A Queer Talmudic TakeIn it, she discusses her "Crash" theory, along with the three ways (options 1, 2, and 3) in which human beings respond when "crashes" occur.

Bonus: If you have a few extra minutes, consider the following question:

1. If you were transported 100 years in the future, to the year 2116, which aspects of Judaism would you desperately hope still existed? What elements of Judaism could fall by the wayside without tragic consequences?

Track 3 - Fun for the Whole Family

50 Minutes: Watch the first five episodes of Shaboom, a brand new animated Jewish series for kids! Episodes range from 8-10 minutes, and all five can be viewed below (click the square icon on the bottom right of each video to view the episodes in full-screen mode).

Image Credit: Shalom Sesame

Image Credit: Shalom Sesame

5 Minutes: Ask your children the following two questions:

1. Which episode was your favorite?

2. What's one thing you learned?

Final 5 Minutes: Watch Shalom Sesame's Shavuot video with your kids (click the image of Grover on the right)!

Track 4 - The Book of Genesis in 60 Minutes

Didn't think it was possible to engage with the whole book of Genesis in just sixty minutes? Well, you can through these videos for each Torah portion, brought to you by BimBam (formerly G-dcast). Each video is only 3-5 minutes, but when watching all of them, you cover quite a bit of ground in this ancient text! Many take the form of beautifully crafted melodies, and some are even raps.

60 Minutes: Watch a 3-5 minute BimBam video for every Torah portion in Genesis (links to each video can be found below, click play and then the square icon in the bottom-right corner for full-screen mode)!

Track 5 - Ted Talks

20 Minutes: Watch Benjamin Zander's TED Talk, entitled "The Transformative Power of Classical Music."


20 Minutes: Watch Simon Sinek's TED Talk, entitled "How Great Leaders Inspire Action."


20 Minutes: Watch Susain Cain's TED Talk, entitled "The Power of Introverts."


It might seem surprising that these TED Talks are being presented as part of an initiative to mark a Jewish holiday, as the speakers don't discuss Judaism at all! But we have a sense that their ideas can inspire important thinking and new perspectives on Judaism and today's Jewish institutions. Consider these questions.

1. Benjamin Zander outlines three groups of people with respect to classical music -- those who are passionate lovers of it, those who "don't mind" it, and those who never listen to classical music at all. He believes that classical music has the potential to transform even the third group. If we substituted the word "Judaism" for "classical music," how might Zander's talk get us thinking differently about what we should do going forward?

2. In the spirit of Simon Sinek's "start with why" idea: if you had to articulate the "why" of Judaism, what would it be?

3. Susan Cain argues that society sees extroverted, charismatic leaders as the embodiment of what it means to be a genuine leader. She encourages us to look to introverts for wisdom as well. Does the rabbinic model of leadership similarly influence us in the Jewish world to value extroverts more than introverts? Does the advent of internet-based technology, like this project, open up new avenues for introverts to engage in new ways?


We hope you enjoyed your one hour Shavuot Budget! If you are interested in exploring our other Shavuot Unbound options, click one of the links below.